From moon walks and dune overwalks to cruise ports and water sports, a galaxy of options await visitors at Florida’s Space Coast, a 72-mile stretch of sun-bronzed Atlantic shore, space age attractions and protected wildlife refuges flourishing along the surf — all at down-to-earth prices. Featured among Money magazine’s “Best Places to Vacation,” the Space Coast is comprised primarily of area cities Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, Melbourne Beach, Palm Bay and Titusville.
Palm Bay lies between Cocoa and Melbourne, and famous for fishing and surfing, but is of course, also known for its proximity to the nearby Kennedy Space Center.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
At the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, visitors can sense galactic adventures at this 140,000-acre megaplex including a replica of a space shuttle, two extraordinary IMAX movies that launch viewers into space, a Rocket Garden riddled with Mercury and Gemini era rockets and bus tours viewing breathtaking launch pads along pristine shores.
The Apollo/Saturn V Center celebrates one of humankind’s greatest achievements with an authentic Saturn V rocket – the most powerful ever built – created to transport man to the moon.
In sweeping contrast and absolutely free, surrounding the Kennedy Space Center, is the 220-square-mile Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge which is home to more federally endangered species than any refuge in the United States. A six-mile driving tour with shaded boardwalks weave through lush pine and oak hammocks of the second-largest sanctuary in Florida.
Sebastian Inlet State Recreation Area
The Sebastian Inlet State Recreation Area boasts quite contrasting acclaims – both a top fishing and surfing destination in Florida – the stunning inlet, with a dramatic stone pier, fishing jetties and crashing waves, also touts the highest attendance of all Florida State Parks.
Turkey Creek Sanctuary
At the Turkey Creek Sanctuary, surrounded by sand pines, saw palmettos and live oaks emerging from ancient sand dunes created 2,000 years ago, a 4,000-foot boardwalk twists and turns along the murky, black water creek. A major stopover for spring and fall migratory birds, including the pileated woodpecker and rare purple martin.
Surprisingly, Space Coast accommodations provide priceless beach vacations with great family value. Whether posh or practical, more than 9,500 East Coast rooms are dotted throughout the area from popular hotels and spacious condominiums to beach-side cottages and five-bedroom bungalows.